College of Law Student News

Three College of Law Students Receive Tillman Scholarships

The Pat Tillman Foundation has announced its 60 scholars nationwide for 2022 which includes three College of Law students: Natasha DeLeon(USMC Veteran), Amanda Higginson (Navy veteran), and William Rielly (Army veteran.) They join a fourth Syracuse University Tillman scholar, Anthony Ornelaz, Master of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Science, Air Force Veteran.

“Tillman Scholarships are extremely competitive and are only awarded to those who have made an impact through their service. I am both pleased and grateful that not one, but three College of Law students have been awarded Tillman scholarships for this year. Natasha, Amanda, and William are living extraordinary lives through their military commitments and now they are on the path to becoming extraordinary Orange lawyers,” said Dean Craig Boise.

The three students are enrolled in the JDinteractive (JDi) program. Reilly is in his second year, Higginson is in her first year, and DeLeon will start the program in August 2022.

First Generation Law Student Association Provides Support to Students

2L Erica Glastetter created the First Generation Law Students Association (FGLSA) in the fall of 2021, connecting with her other first-generation classmates to develop a network of mentors and prepare for the demands of the law school experience. FGLSA collaborates with the College of Law’s admissions office to connect with applicants who identify as first-generation law students. Around 60 mentors and mentees participated in the program this year, including 2L Caroline Synakowski, FGLSA’s treasurer.

“Imposter syndrome is a very real issue for law students and especially first-generation law students,” Synakowski said. “Knowing that I am surrounded by people with similar backgrounds and life experiences is truly encouraging.”

Voted the 2021-22 Student Organization of the Year by the Student Bar Association, the group is growing in both size and reach, recently announcing a new scholarship that will help pay for an SU first-generation law student’s education.

“We just formed this built-in support system,” Glastetter said. “If you’re struggling with something, we’re there to give you advice or tell you what not to do, because we learned the hard way by doing it ourselves.”

Renci “Mercy” Xie LL.M. ’20 and Current Doctoral Candidate, Speaks with National Public Radio on Disabled Chinese Citizens’ Fight for Disability Access

Renci “Mercy” Xie
Renci “Mercy” Xie

National Public Radio interviewed Renci “Mercy” Xie LL.M. ’20 and is currently a doctoral candidate in the S.J.D. program for the story, “China excels at the Paralympics, but its disabled citizens are fighting for access.” Xie, who is focusing her degree on disability law, recounts the hurdles she faced growing up with a disability in China. 

“I was in a car accident when I was 4 years old, and I lost my right leg. The teacher just tells my mom, so your kid is not OK for our school because we don’t have the accessible facility for her,” says Xie.

She and her mother fought hard to win entrance at the local public school in China so she wouldn’t have to go to a special school for the disabled.

“They were usually very far away from the city, our home. And you cannot return home every day with your family, which is one thing. Another challenge is that if you go to the special school, you cannot take the university entrance examination,” Xie says

It is no surprise that Xie is focusing her research and advocacy on promoting and advancing the rights of people with disabilities.

Ryan Marquette G’22, L’22 Announced as Syracuse University Student Veteran of the Year for 2022

Ryan Marquette
Ryan Marquette

Ryan Marquette G’22, L’22 is Syracuse University’s 2022 Student Veteran of the Year. This award is presented by the Student Veterans Organization and the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs each year to a student who contributes both on and off campus to make Syracuse University “the best place for veterans.” 

Marquette is a U.S. Army veteran and active member of the Army National Guard. He was a student veteran in the College of Law while simultaneously pursuing a master’s of public administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. While his studies kept him busy, Marquette also regularly involved himself with veteran functions on campus and in the community and found the time to volunteer for the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families, serving as a guest speaker at a Fort Drum Onward the Opportunity graduation.

During the height of COVID-19 in 2020, Marquette juggled school and his active role as a member of the National Guard as he responded to the pandemic in New York State. His efforts led to the distribution of 147,809 COVID tests, 36,661 meals, and 507 medical supply deliveries across the state. Off-campus, he leads the Leader-Scholar Scholarship in Rome, New York, where one student is awarded a scholarship for their leadership efforts throughout their high school career and volunteer work in their community. The scholarship was named after Marquette’s friend, Capt. John Levulis, who lost his life in a military training accident.

Marquette served as the president of the Operation Veteran Advocacy group at the College of Law and was an executive board member of the Syracuse Law Review. His accomplishments while at the University include receiving the 2021 Student Veterans Organization’s Best for Vets award and serving as the first-ever law school appointee to the Syracuse University Board of Trustees.

11 Students Help with the Syrian Accountability Project’s White Paper, “The 2022 Winter Olympics and Genocide: A History of Enabling Atrocities and the Path Forward”

The Syrian Accountability Project(SAP) has released the white paper, “The 2022 Winter Olympics and Genocide: A History of Enabling Atrocities and the Path Forward.” The paper recognizes the genocide occurring in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region against the Uyghur people, documents the history of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) enabling the violation of human rights and the perpetuating of genocide, tracks the legal framework for holding complicit parties accountable, and identifies possible actions states and private entities may take to avoid complicity.

In summary, the paper indicates that “Most directly, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is responsible for the genocide of the Uyghur people. Forced concentration camps, disappearances, and slave labor put the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the PRC. However, the PRC does not shoulder responsibility for this atrocity alone.”

The 2022 Winter Olympics and Genocide: A History of Enabling Atrocities and the Path Forward can be downloaded from https://syrianaccountabilityproject.syr. edu/publications.

The paper was researched and written by 11 Syracuse University College of Law students along with students from the University of Michigan School of Law, Suffolk University, and the University of Washington in St. Louis under the direction of SAP founder and project leader David M. Crane L’80, Former Chief Prosecutor, Special Court of Sierra Leone and professor at the College of Law.

College of Law Students Help Former UN Special Prosecutor for International War Crimes Tribunal Write Report on War Crimes in Ukraine

Authored by David M. Crane L’80, Syracuse University Distinguished Scholar in Residence, and Syracuse University College of Law students, a new white paper, “Russian War Crimes Against Ukraine. The Breach of International Humanitarian Law by the Russian Federation,” offers in-depth accounting and accusations of crimes committed by the Russian Federation and President Vladimir Putin during the invasion of Ukraine.

The paper lays out an indictment of numerous war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression from February 24, 2022 to April 1, 2022, during the invasion of Ukraine. The report includes a sample draft of a criminal indictment against President Vladimir Putin for his war crimes. The white paper was created by the Ukraine Task Force, composed of law students and legal scholars, with the goal to create a non-partisan, high-quality analysis of open-source materials.

“Because of his aggressive acts and his intentional targeting of Ukrainian civilians, Vladimir Putin has lost all political legitimacy and has made Russia a pariah state. This white paper catalogs the horror he has unleashed and lays out a pathway for holding him accountable for aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity,” said Crane, the project leader of the white paper and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Syracuse University College of Law.

Crane is the founding chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, an international war crimes tribunal where he indicted Liberian President Charles Taylor, the first sitting African head of state in history to be held accountable in this way.

“The Ukraine Task Force established by the Global Accountability Network (GAN) was an incredible and unique experience that allowed law students to take an active part in international legal discourse,” said Syracuse Law student Christopher Martz L’22, the taskforce director and one of the lead writers of the white paper. “The Ukraine Task Force encountered serious difficulties in documenting war crimes in real time, especially considering the fact that GAN pulled students from all across the country. However, the leadership of Professor Crane and the commitment of GAN volunteers helped overcome these difficulties, resulting in an important living document that creates a framework of accountability moving forward.”

Disability Law Student 2L Matthew Yanez Featured by Syracuse Stories

Disability Law Student 2L Matthew Yanez Focuses on Being a Civil Rights Attorney

Matthew Yanez L’23 has seen the justice system at work firsthand. Growing up in California, Yanez had an uncle who was incarcerated at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles. He and his father would visit his uncle on Saturday mornings, and that glimpse into the justice system sparked his interest in a career in law.

Yanez is a dual degree student in the College of Law, focusing on disability law and policy, and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, where he’s studying public administration. He is certain the two degrees will help him achieve his career goal of working for the federal government in the Department of Justice to advocate for people with disabilities.

Matthew Yanez
Matthew Yanez

Yanez has already gotten some great experience under his belt during the summer of 2021 when he interned for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, where he reviewed settlement agreements enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act, drafted motions for civil litigation and put together a summary of Supreme Court cases involving disability rights. This exposure to his desired career path led him to join the Disability Rights Clinic at the College of Law so that he could continue working on amplifying the voices of those with disabilities in the Syracuse community. The Disability Law and Policy Program at the College of Law, directed by Professor Arlene Kanter, has given Yanez the guidance needed to pursue his dreams of becoming a civil rights attorney.